Continuing combat operations will sustain spending for essential logistics and weapons programs at relatively high levels in the 2014 Department of Defense (DoD) budget. On-going Special Operations Command activities to combat terrorist groups and build military relationships with allied nations are driving C4ISR and tactical innovation.
Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense (defense.frost.com) research finds that the US DoD budget request for 2014 is $616.10 billion including expected overseas contingency operations funding. The study covers Army, Navy/Marine Corps, Air Force, and Joint Service spending for research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E), procurement, operations and maintenance (O&M), and services. The research can help firms choose priority investment areas since it indicates the segments of products and services that the DoD has emphasized in the budget request.
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Emphasis on proven equipment will result in less spending on RDT&E and new program starts through 2017. Reliable platforms and equipment that can be incrementally upgraded to utilize new, but mature, often commercial, technologies and capabilities will have favor over new designs.
"Methods to enhance the interoperability and mission flexibility of current gear will be a high priority," said Aerospace & Defense Industry Analyst Brad Curran. "RDT&E is the most flexible portion of the budget and will probably see the most declines as a percentage of spending."
Economic challenges and competing national priorities result in reduced overall DoD funding. Continuing resolutions and sequestration negotiations also contribute to program funding uncertainty. As a result, new program starts will be rare and will likely have to meet urgent operational requirements and be approved by all the services.
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US DoD 2014 Budget Assessment / NC9C-16